Musings

Big Picture vs. Reality

 

 

With spring just around the corner, I thought I’d declutter my desk and give myself a fresh space to concentrate and get organized.

So, I put up a corkboard that I bought before Christmas (just for this little task) and proceeded to post my TO DOs related to writing.

Exhibit A (the first image above)

I was so proud of myself for finally getting this task done and clearing my work space that I had to take a picture so I could share it — I know, but I was proud of myself for taking that first step.

Exhibit B

As I worked on some housekeeping items on my computer for some volunteer work I do (writing community and elementary school community stuff), a few more TO DO items came to mind that I had avoided putting down on my already overflowing list. No biggie. We’re being thorough here, right?

Exhibit C

24hrs after putting up my “Let’s get organized” board, I’m staring at the Big Picture all of a sudden and averting my gaze… Here I was, so excited about having a plan and writing down my To Do List items on coloured pieces of paper (a great procrastination technique for avoiding writing/editing), and now I’m feeling overwhelmed again.

I have:

3 short stories I promised to critique (1 novel beta read I completely dropped the ball on last month).

3 publicity initiatives I need to follow through on (facebook infographics/update my book events here/schedule another 6 or so blog posts for my emerging author website–Infinite Pathways)

2 projects to complete before going to Toronto Comic Con in 3 weeks (design mini-booklets for Lost Chapter #1/design, print, and stick labels on my paper book bags)

1 personal short story to edit (my publisher is looking for that by May 1st)

1 new book to edit (mine! was picked up by Love Knot Books but I won’t get those edits for another month or so)

2 new books to write (Forgotten Fallacy–book 4 of Chronicles/and book 2 in the aforementioned romantic suspense series just picked up by Love Knot Books)

1 Grant Application to complete (today’s deadline)

1 Grant Application to prepare for (October deadline)

1 book to update (Cadence of Consequences…apparently my “style experiment” is rubbing traditional readers a tad raw so I need to add names before each shift after a break when I switch to a new point of view)

3 middle grade adventure stories to rewrite (long-term goal for this year)

Amazon reviewers to approach 

Query letter to send to agents (for The Hollow Kiss, book 1 in my Urban Fantasy series)

…and…

A list of bookstores to contact to get my books in on consignment

TAKE A DEEP BREATH (I’m yelling this at myself, not you)

How easy it is to forget to prioritize; to breathe; to take small steps, to breathe, and to realistically look at the fact that some of these items have been hanging over my head for a year now; some I need to complete within the next month; one I’d like to finish within the next two months (draft 1 of Book 4!); and still others that are on my “distant future” want list.

I think I’m still going to need that small TO DO list back on the corner of my desk — just so that I can prioritize and let myself see that:

A) There are actually 5 colourful notes I can take down and toss out — DONE!

B) There are 2 large notes that are “handy reminders” and not actual things To Do — YES!

C) There are only 4 projects I need to balance right now, 2 of which will be done by the end of the week, a 3rd by early next week — Okay!

D) The most important note on that board is not a note at all, but the picture of my son, for whom I cannot feel guilty spending time with.

And, that’s the takeaway here.

As much as I love writing, and editing, and helping others until my eyes bleed and my fingers…you get the idea. I need to remember that’s not what life is about. Sure, I’d like to make my deadlines and get some more traction on the sales of my books, but when it comes right down to it, if my six-year-old needs my help to pass the “boss man” on Crash of the Titians (X-Box 360), then I’m there for him 😉

What about you?

Have you had to shake your head recently and really prioritize your To Do List?

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Song Inspiration for Cadence of Consequences

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Song Inspiration for Time’s Tempest

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Touching Base

indie-author-day-richmond-hill-central-library-2016

Indie Author Day @ the Richmond Hill Central Library

These day’s I find it incredibly difficult to keep in touch with everyone and everything I’m supposed to be doing. And yet, the busier I get the more I seem to “take on” because “someone has to in order to get it done”.

Have you been there before? Are you there right now with me? 😀

I’ve been busy with my editing business this year and yet it’s still not producing the kind of income I need to help support my family. And yet, the more editing I do, the less time I have to write my own books. I’ve been trying to get Book 3 of The Chronicles of Xannia written for the past 12 months but other projects keep creeping up and taking over — usually because they involve getting paid 😉

I’m at a crossroads with my chosen career and keep reminding myself that I’m “laying a foundation”. I’ve got my SFF series that I’m self-publishing, my client editing projects (that keep me grocery money), my Urban Fantasy book (1st in the series) I’m currently querying agents about, a new Medieval Romantic Suspense series floating around in my head demanding to see the light of day, I’m the new VP for the Writers’ Community of York Region, I’m running a giant book event (gearing up for May 2017), and trying to find ways to entice buyers to consider my book when I attend other book events (marketing makes my head spin). I’m also working on contract for a local small publisher as polishing editor and trying to submit a New Adult, Contemporary Romantic Suspense stand-alone for his new Love Knot Publishing line …

I’ve got my fingers stirring so many different pots I’ve let my social media presence slide … for months now.

Don’t get me wrong, I love chatting with you guys about the journeys we take in life and the paths we choose, but I haven’t quite found that balance yet. I keep putting myself last and looking at the All Mighty Buck when it comes to priorities.

This month, though, is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I’m trying to focus only on writing book 3. I haven’t sent out any query letters, I’ve put 3 different editing projects on hold until December, and my Book Fair event staff (all volunteers) are stepping up to help take on a project we were left high-and-dry on with a volunteer who had to step back for health reasons.

I have it in my head that if I can just finish book 3 by the spring, I might stand half a chance keeping to this elusive path through uncharted territory and not lose my way.

What paths are you glad you’ve fought for?

Which ones to do you wish you’d tried harder to keep or want to find a path back to again?

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Chicken and the Egg Syndrome

chicken-and-eggI’m sure you’re all aware of the age old question: Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Since high school I’ve had a logical and scientific answer for this and couldn’t understand why the question was even asked.

My outlook: The egg came first. Whatever partial-version of the chicken happened to be in existence prior to the egg being laid would contribute to, but not be, an actual chicken. What the egg contained, would be.

So, in my mind there was no question, and instead a syndrome where people who didn’t know all the facts were easily confused.

Often this syndrome accompanies the very basic question of: What should I be doing first?

My answer: Does it really matter if the outcome is the same either way?

Take for instance my writing. I usually have several scenes, moments, and scenarios in mind well before beginning the planning stage of my novels. This time, for book 3 of The Chronicles of Xannia: Rebel’s Rein/Rain, I knew what needed to happen in the book but hadn’t received any inspiration when it came to writing the characters or the scenes. To me, I was working backwards, without my muse.

I’ve found it difficult to start the book and really tap into the extreme situation the characters find themselves in but at the same time, by pushing myself to experiment and get something, anything, on the page, I’m slowly navigating through the writing to find my muse.

And it’s working.

I have this overriding and grand vision for book 3 but found myself blindly reaching for inspiration. That’s okay – just as a blind person may lose one sense (sight) they gain the ability to use the others better, to help compensate. My other writing senses faced quite the challenge, but they succeeded. I’m writing again and with each new chapter my muse is becoming clearer.

Thank God!

Have you ever had to do something backwards to what you were used to? How did you feel? What was the outcome?

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